Jodie Whittaker has been announced as the 13th Doctor, the first female to take the role since 1963. While the Internet has mixed feelings about the radical change, incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall has always been sure that he wanted to see a woman pilot the TARDIS in Doctor Who.
Rise of the Time Lady
The BBC caused quite a ruckus on Sunday when the channel announced Peter Capaldi’s successor. With a short video, Whittaker was introduced as the 13th Doctor.
While Steven Moffat is still the showrunner right now, it was Chris Chibnall who made the decision to cast Whittaker as the beloved Time Lord. In a statement to the BBC (via Screen Rant), the screenwriter talked about the casting process and how the former Broadchurch actress landed the role.
“I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” Chibnall said. “Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”
Since Capaldi announced his exit from the long-running sci-fi series, speculations about which actor will be chosen as his successor ran rampant. Among those rumored to be in the running were Kris Marshall, Ben Wishaw, Rupert Grint, Luke Treadaway, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Tilda Swinton.
Many fans and even former members of the series have voiced their desire to see a woman be cast in the coveted role. Even Capaldi suggested that Frances de la Tour (of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) be the next in line.
While the Doctor has been male until now, the show has made numerous references that Time Lords could regenerate into Time Ladies. In Season 8, Michelle Gomez was introduced as Missy, the female regeneration of the Master. The Season 9 episode Hell Bent also saw The General regenerate into a woman (after the Doctor shot him).
A Refreshing Change
Whittaker’s casting could bring a fresh new take of Doctor Who. The series has been on television since 1963 and, recently, ratings have been gradually dropping.
Everyone who has ever appeared on the show has voiced their full support for the new Doctor. Mark Gatiss who has written a few episodes since the relaunch in 2005 sent his congratulations to Whittaker on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker was glad to see the Time Lord get in touch with her feminine side.
Terrific news! And about time. A new dawn. Congratulations to the excellent Jodie Whittaker. Here we go again…! #DoctorWho
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) July 16, 2017
Well I never the BBC really did do the right thing and let the Doctor be in touch with her feminine side. As a father of daughters – result!
— Colin Baker (@SawbonesHex) July 16, 2017
Former companions Pearl Mackie, Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Janet Fielding and Jenna Coleman also tweeted their warm welcomes.
— Arthur Darvill (@RattyBurvil) July 16, 2017
— Janet Fielding (@jfmouthonlegs) July 16, 2017
Matt Lucas/Nardole, however, was upset that another human, not a Gallifreyan, nabbed the role.
Absolutely furious. Can't believe they've cast a human to play the Doctor.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) July 16, 2017
Meanwhile, Capaldi is confident that Whittaker will not disappoint fans. In a special statement published by Radio Times, the actor gave his blessing to the Thirteenth Doctor.
“Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm,” Capaldi said of his successor. “She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”
Whittaker will make her grand debut on Doctor Who on Christmas Day, soon after Capaldi makes his final curtain call. Called simply as The Doctors, the final episode of the Twelfth Doctor will see the Time Lord cross paths with his first incarnation to be played by David Bradley (who also portrayed William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time ). Meanwhile, the Thirteenth Doctor’s first full episode is expected to air some time in 2018.